BLP ponders future of Lawyers on Demand business

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is discussing whether to spin off its Lawyers on Demand (LoD) service as the business goes through ‘its adolescence’.

According to BLP partner Simon Harper, who co-founded the business with Jonathan Brenner, the firm is discussing whether to spin off the business or keep it as part of BLP. Harper said that no date had been set to vote on the decision, nor was the firm sure what kind of structure a vote would take, or who is entitled to vote.

“No papers have been sent out to the partners and no vote has been scheduled,” said Harper. “The reasoning [behind the discussions] is that the business is now going through its adolescence phase and it needs to grow further to become a fully grown-up business – a spin-off is one way of doing that.

“There’s no hurry to make a decision, though” added Harper. “The business has worked pretty well so far and can continue as it is quite happily.”

Asked whether the firm might consider seeking ABS investment for LoB, Harper confirmed that it is the kind of business that firms would seek investment for, but tempered that by saying that it was a profitable business already and did not necessarily need extra investment.

Harper stressed, however, that if LoD did spin off it would retain its close links with BLP.

LoD was set up in 2007 by Brenner and Harper to provide clients with freelance lawyers on a temporary basis, to help cope with spikes in legal work. The business now has a bank of around 80 lawyers.